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  • Monday, May 21, 2018 8:42 AM | Aaron Gjerde (Administrator)

    Please send your thoughts regarding the HPC proposed changes to:

    Councilman Dai Thao

    Mayor Carter 

    Suggested themes

    We oppose the proposed changes to Chapter 73 that established the Heritage Preservation Commission.  We believe these changes will damage the delicate renaissance our historic neighborhood and St. Paul are experiencing and will threaten Mayor Carter's economic development vision of "assets, assets, everywhere."

    How?  By massively increasing fees and penalizing appeals.  By massively increasing the cost of historic preservation with overly detailed and prescriptive National Standards, rather than the intentionally more general local "guidelines" that were adapted from the national guidelines.  The intention was not to create a museum, like the James J. Hill House or Alexander Ramsey House, which the National Standard is well suited for, but to prevent tear downs and to provide reasonable guidelines that encourage people to rehabilitate their houses and develop businesses.  We are seeing some success from this general guideline as a piece in an overall community and economic development strategy - to undo this accomplishment now, when our work is not done, threatens to disrupt progress and put the Historic Hill District back on a path to abandoned buildings and blight all over again.

    The HPC may argue that the only people impacted by the increased preservation costs and fees can afford it anyway.  Well, that's plain old false and ignores the economic reality that Historic Preservation in St Paul is one of our assets.  Right now, preservation can help a blighted neighborhood find root in its traditions where neighbors find each other, help each other, and work to improve the living conditions and housing all around them.  We saw it on Ramsey Hill, in Irvine Park, and we're seeing it on Dayton's Bluff, Como, Hamline Midway, and other areas in St Paul.  What you see across these areas is a wonderful mix of economic diversity.  Ramsey Hill today represents perhaps the highest concentration of the wealthiest and the highest concentration of the poorest in St Paul.  Living together in harmony - friends and neighbors.  That must be a valuable asset.  That must be what Mayor Carter wants to create as a vision.

    That cannot happen when fees are so high and preservation costs driven by excessively prescriptive standards are so high and timelines so extended and criminal fines can be levied by the HPC.  

    What we do need is increased efficiency processing permit applications by the HPC.  What we do need is better accessibility of the HPC to consult with neighbors and developers before applications are submitted.  We need to remember that Historic Preservation is a tool that enhances an overall Community Development and Economic Development Strategy, OR if used inappropriately, will crush a delicate renaissance.

    Remember the Back to the City Conference?  We see the results all around us.  Oppose the changes that increase bureaucracy and the cost of government and instead, let's help accelerate our momentum to further develop the "assets" our Mayor sees.  

  • Sunday, May 20, 2018 10:34 PM | Aaron Gjerde (Administrator)

    Commentary attributed to Mitch Rubenstein and posted here by Aaron Gjerde:

    "The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties are regulatory only for projects receiving Historic Preservation Fund grant assistance and other federally-assisted projects. Otherwise, these Guidelines are intended to provide general guidance for work on any historic building."

    Except for projects receiving federal funds, the guidelines are just that: guidelines. Most of the content of the Department of Interior's publication regarding features, materials, and procedures consist of things that are recommended or not recommended. Again, the key word is recommended, which implies discretionary, not required.

    It seems that if the intent of the HPC's proposed rules is to prescribe in detail requirements for various projects, then HPC would be 1) deviating from the intent of the federal guidelines; and  2) prescribing things that Department of Interior left as discretionary to property owners and project directors. In the same vein, detailed regulations by HPC would make sense only if HPC were overseeing use of city grants or funds used for preservation, rehabilitation, or restoration.

    [ed.] Indeed, providing access to funding for preservation work was an approach promoted by Jim Sazevich and others at the time of initial establishment of the HPC.

  • Saturday, May 19, 2018 3:05 PM | Aaron Gjerde (Administrator)

    Rassoul Dastmozd, President of St Paul College, informed the board of RHA that Higher Ground Academy is no longer pursuing plans for a new school along Marshall Ave.

    President Dastmozd thanked his staff for their diligence in considering the proposal.

    RHA Zoning and Land Use Chair Peter Carlson thanked President Dastmozd for the transparency, consideration, and hospitality RHA board members were given when we met with the St Paul College executive team about the proposal.

    I would like to thank neighbors for their respect and diligence in their efforts to understand the proposal and to seek solutions for the concerns identified.

  • Friday, March 16, 2018 4:12 PM | Aaron Gjerde (Administrator)
    Through our partnership with SUPC, RHA has learned of a proposal by Higher Ground Academy to build a new school in the unused build at 317 Marshall that is owned by St Paul College.  Everyone is still in information gathering phase, but RHA has obtained the following information so you can better understand what is being proposed:


    ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AVAILABLE on the RHA website

    Flyer from the Architects about Community Forum Monday, March 19

    From Summit-University Planning Council:

    Information on the Higher Ground Academy New Secondary School Proposal for 317 Marshall Avenue, Saint Paul, Minnesota Higher Ground Academy is a K-12 charter school located at 1381 Marshall Avenue in Saint Paul. The current location serves approximately 600 students, mainly of East African descent. 

    The Higher Ground Academy is exploring relocating the middle and high school programs to a new location at 317 Marshall Avenue, at the CLC building site currently occupied by Saint Paul College. Project Scope Approximately 10,000 square feet of an existing one-story building on the site will be remodeled, and 35,000 square feet of new construction will be added to the site to accommodate 450 students in the 7-12 charter school program. 

    The design for the new building will use materials and colors that complement the neighborhood and Saint Paul College. Construction is to start in the fall of 2018 and be completed for occupancy in the fall of 2019. 

    Higher Ground Academy and Saint Paul College hope to create a collaborative partnership in developing a new building and curriculum at this site, that will flexibly work for both institutions. 

    Zoning Variances The school will be applying to the City of St. Paul for a few zoning variances for the project, these variances will not impact other properties in the neighborhood. 

    The required zoning variances are: 

    • The proposed building footprint will cover more than the 30% of the site. 

    • The rear yard setback next to the parking area will be less than the required 25’. 

    • Parking will be accommodated through a shared parking agreement with St. Paul College.

  • Monday, December 04, 2017 11:52 AM | Joseph Wethington (Administrator)

    Please be advised that on Thursday November 30th, an adult female was walking at 1 PM on Summit Avenue near Chatsworth.  A young male accosted her and grabbed her bag.  She was able to retain it.  He ran away and was picked up in an automobile by accomplices.  The police were notified and are following up. 

    Ramsey Hill Association Crime Prevention

  • Wednesday, November 22, 2017 12:43 PM | Aaron Gjerde (Administrator)

    As many neighbors know, Julia and Wade Burgess are working hard to renovate the playground at Boyd Park in memory of their daughter Vivienne who passed away in her sleep at the tender age of 3.  As friends and neighbors, RHA is supporting their efforts and encourage you to learn more about how we can help pitch in at http://www.viviennesjoy.org/

  • Tuesday, October 10, 2017 12:14 PM | Aaron Gjerde (Administrator)
  • Thursday, June 22, 2017 1:10 PM | Joseph Wethington (Administrator)

    St. Paul in 'public health crisis' as gunshots, violence increase, Axtell says

    Excellent article from Mara Gottfried of the St. Paul Pioneer Press summarizing Police Chief Axtell's public policy update to the City Council on Wednesday 06.21.17

    http://www.twincities.com/2017/06/21/as-911-calls-gunshots-increase-city-considers-adding-cops/


  • Tuesday, May 02, 2017 2:35 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Annual Rose' Wine Tasting Event

    Sunday May 21st 
    PURCHASE TICKETS HERE

    Facebook Event Page for Updates


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